Promoting Independence with Medicines - Part 1

Promoting independence for clients within social care is such a priority and yet through a lack of knowledge and appropriate training or advice, we are still over supporting our clients out of Level 1 General Support and into Level 2 Administration long before they need to be there. There are lots of ways to empower people to remain in control of their medicines, it’s just that they are not very well known. It’s about time they were both known, recommended and used so let’s have a look at the compliance aids available to help our service user take or use their medicines themselves.

In this article we begin to look at some of the compliance available to enable people to take theor own tablets and capsules.

Tablets and Capsules

child resistant bottlesHave you ever had a child resistant container that was impossible to open? It seems sometimes that only children can get in to them doesn’t it?! A service user with dexterity challenges may well struggle to open this type of closure and it is so tempting to offer to just open it for them each time but are you taking away their independence too soon by assisting in this way?

If your service user has containers like this, what compliance aids can you suggest to enable them to open the container themselves?


bottles with screw caps
Perhaps you could simply ask the pharmacist to provide the medication in bottles with ordinary screw caps? A pharmacist can provide ordinary tops as long as you can satisfy them that the medicines will be kept out of the reach of children. This would be done for you free of charge by the pharmacy.



What if though, our service user was not very dextrous, maybe he or she has arthritis or some other challenge which means that they cannot grip those little lids very easily? What other alternatives could we provide or suggest in order that they continue to be independent?

jar openerHow about something bigger that will grip the container and allow me a bigger surface area to holdbottle opener on to so that I don’t need to grip so tightly?

Inexpensive to buy, just £1 to £2 each – what an inexpensive way to enable some one to remain independent!


Even better than that – did you know it’s not just Red Bull that gives you wings? If you ask your pharmacist they may be able to supply your service user with ‘winged caps’ free of charge.


pill splitterDid you ever have half a tablet in your medicines regimen? They’re not always as easy to break as you might think are they? Even if they are scored. They either break in to a quarter and three quarters! Or disintegrate into a million little pieces or are just impossible to break at all! Well you could ask the pharmacist to break the tablets for you. Alternatively (once you have checked with the pharmacist that it is ok for that particular medication to be broken in half) use a pill splitter to give you a helping hand. Not always totally exact but a darn sight easier than breaking them by hand!


pill crusher

Similarly, if a service user need to crush their tablets, providing that you have checked with your pharmacist that it is appropriate for that particular tablet to be crushed, then life is so much simpler with a pill crusher rather than doing the two spoon trick and the tablet goes pinging off into the distance!




pill popperMay be the challenge has simply been popping them out of a blister pack. The pharmacist could put them in to a bottle for you or why not invest a few pounds in to a pill popper! So much easier, especially when they little fiddly ones!



All of these compliance aids are available via pharmacy, independent living stores and on line and will cost less than £3!

What a small price to pay for your independence!

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